Why sit around at home when the days are long and the sun is out? Whether you live surrounded by rolling hills or you’re in the middle of London, there are green areas that you can enjoy for free during the warmer months.
“During summer it’s more important than ever to spend time outdoors. Spending time outdoors in the sunshine offers physical, mental, and emotional benefits. For example, your stress levels will decline as going outside for a walk reduces cortisol in the blood which decreases anxiety and stress,” says Joanna Dase*, a fitness expert at Curves.eu.
Need more convincing? Read on for some inspiration on how to get active and outdoors this summer!
Why is it important to get active and outdoors this summer?
“It’s important to get outside in the summer, to stay motivated you should make a habit to change your workout environment. Spending even just 20 minutes working out in the park is enough to improve your well-being and mental health. Sunlight helps our skin make vitamin D, which is needed for normal bone function and health. It also triggers a boost in serotonin which is one of your brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals. Being outside of your day-to-day environment creates a change of scenery that gives a fresh perspective,” says Joanna.
Being out in nature has so many benefits. As well as getting you moving, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level, being in a green space can also improve your mood, help you feel relaxed, help you connect to your local area and community, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
We live in a beautiful country with lots of parks, forests, coastlines and fields to explore. Not sure where to start? Take a look at Walking Britain’s featured walks for inspiration!
What accessible activities can you do outside to keep you active?
“There is a range of activities which you can take part in outside. Go for a long walk, maybe join up with a rambling group or enjoy a park run, don’t forget to stop and take photos being mindful of nature or the beauty within a city. Or be more adventurous and rent a bike or maybe canoe. Try the driving range or even a round of golf,” says Joanna.
Parks, forests, fields and so on are great places to run, do HITT exercises, practice yoga, or just go for a casual stroll or longer hike. It doesn’t matter so much what you do when you’re out – what’s important is that you get outside, soak up some sunshine and explore your surroundings in whatever way feels best.
Walking is something we learn to do when we’re very young, so it doesn’t seem like something you’d have to think about. When you’re planning a longer walk or hike, however, there are some things to keep in mind.
“Although it’s something we do daily, if you’re a beginner to long walks or hikes, it’s best to start off slow and steady. Walking is one of the simplest ways to exercise and opens the door to miles of coastal paths to explore. Start off hiking somewhere familiar on a short and easy to follow the route. If you have no friends who wish to join you, you can join a walking group and meet like-minded people,” Joanna says.
“Ensure to have your routes planned out but never rely on your phone as signals and batteries can cause problems En route and put you in danger. Be sure to dress appropriately – wear lightweight layers and appropriate footwear. Bring along a waterproof, water and a healthy snack such as a banana. Over time, you can establish your favourite routes for three different distances e.g., 3k, 5k and 10k. Depending on the time and energy you have, you can default to one of these routes, keep track of how long each route takes you and aim to gradually complete the route faster,” she continues.
Can you recommend any good UK based walking or hiking routes?
“The national coastal path notably the Southwest coast path, including the Jurassic Coast. There are also National Trust properties – walk around the grounds in Kingston Lacy or Hall Place in south east London. Britain also has many national parks – e.g. the New Forest in Hampshire.”
Hiking is a great way to explore new parts of the U.K, but it can also help you get to know your own area better. Find some walks near you.
Do you have any tips for getting active and outdoors this summer? What are your favourite UK walks? Let us know by getting in touch on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
*Joanna Dase does not endorse any products or brands.